York County Commissioners OK new park rules

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Changes are on the way, that have been a long time in the making.  County Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to allow a new ordinance that updates the rules and regulations for all 11 York County Parks.

“It was time to update. It has been almost 6 years since we last updated them,” said York County Parks Director Tammy Klunk.

Since then there has been the addition of a dog park at John C. Rudy County Park. “Children under 49 inches are not allowed in the dog park. They get to running and playing, and a dog jumps on them and you never know what a dog is going to do,” said Chief Park Ranger Gerald Ford. And while the rules have always been posted on signs, now they are actually part of park rules. “If we had any violations we had to bring the charge under not obeying a sign. Now it’s an individual rule,” said Ford.

Commissioners voted to allow the new ordinance and all of the changes that go with it.

Added water activities
Water activities such as flat boarding and wind surfing are now permitted at Lake Redman and Lake Williams within William H Kane County Park.

“I think that is going to bring more people into the parks; good people. And I think the more good people you get into the park the less bad people will come in,” said Ford.

“We’re glad that the recreational activities are expanding,” said York County Commissioner Chris Reilly.

“Both the public and the department want to offer as many recreational activities as possible. Certainly flat boarding is becoming more popular. It gives them a place close to home to at least try it,” said Klunk.

There will not be a lifeguard, so those participating are essentially on their own. They will have to follow state fish and boating regulations, such as wearing a life jacket.

Lake Williams and Lake Redman are both owned by the York Water Company, and the company is on-board with the changes. “They’re very interested in expanding the water activities,” said Klunk.

Another change for the two lakes: boating and fishing will be allowed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Swimming is still prohibited.

Another change to the ordinance is the section on disorderly conduct. Park officials decided the rules needed to be more clear, after a 2009 sting in which several men were cited for trying to solicit sex from other men in various York County Parks.

“The sexual activity in the park we have had problems with that in the past, we have it under control now. We have introduced patrols,  in fact, we hired an additional ranger dedicated to that type of activity. But, we want to make sure the parks are a safe environment for our York County families,” said Commissioner Riley.

“We always try to clarify our rules and regulations, so that when we do cite someone and it ends up at the district judges office, we have everything in place,” said Klunk. Some rules under disorderly conduct include noise, public urination, engaging in sexual activity, and soliciting for sexual activity. The goal was to eliminate confusion that park rangers previously encountered when citing for disorderly conduct.

“It’s going to help us as far as being able to cite the individual with the correct charge now. With these rules it’s lets the visitor know what they can and cannot do,” said Ford.